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A Closer Look At: The Evolution of Mobile Trading As mobile trading continues to grow in popularity, Scott Wacker, global head of e-commerce sales and marketing at JP Morgan, talks about how client demands for this product have changed. Profit & Loss: How have you seen client demands regarding mobile trading evolve in recent years? Scott Wacker: Initially, it was about showing clients what was going on in the market. We felt that there were a lot of traders who might be trading on our platform who would go into meetings and then want to monitor the markets during those meetings. So we looked at mobile as a way of differentiating our platform from competitors by offering them access to this market data.
A Closer Look At: Bespoke FXPB Systems Marcus Butt, global head of FX prime services and futures at NatWest Markets, talks about how the bank is developing its FX Prime Brokerage offering in response to changing client needs. Profit & Loss: So what are you doing on the FXPB side of your e-FX platform that you think differentiates your offering right now? Marcus Butt: What we're doing on the platform that is unique is really a reflection of what we’re doing in the business. Part of this is that we’ve introduced a number of new prime brokerage models to accommodate the diversification of our client base.
A Closer Look At: A New Approach to Commodities Ronan Julien, global head of commodity derivatives e-distribution at BNP Paribas, talks about how the bank is doing things differently in the commodities space. Profit & Loss: What do you think is differen about your approach to listing commodities on your e-trading platform? Ronan Julien: The way that commodities trade is largely the same as it was 10 years ago. However, the demands from clients on the one side and regulators on the other have continued to evolve and so we looked to other asset classes for inspiration to help solve this disconnect.
Bitcoin: The Next Step As the cryptocurrency, bitcoin, takes arguably the next big step towards mainstream adoption, Galen Stops takes a look at the different approaches being taken by regulated exchanges towards designing bitcoin contracts and regulators to overseeing them. Last week, on December 1, three exchanges regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) self-certified new cash-settled derivatives contracts based on bitcoin. The exchanges – or designated contract markets (DCMs) – are the CME, the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) and the Cantor Exchange.
Spreading the Wealth With more information becoming increasingly accessible to a wider set of FX market participants, are we witnessing the democratisation of data? Galen Stops takes a look. The starting point for claiming that data is being democratised in FX, and in the financial markets more broadly, is to point out how much more accessible data has become to a wider range of market participants.  At the retail level, people can use smartphones to find out a currency exchange rate at any time in just seconds. At the professional level, trading firms can now access high-speed market data from numerous sources at affordable prices, while aggregators allow them to rapidly compare the data coming on from these sources. 
Blockchain Vs. Bitcoin: Is the Pendulum Swinging Back? Galen Stops looks at why demand for cryptoassets has skyrocketed in 2017 and assesses whether they have any future in mainstream financial markets. The first working implementation of a blockchain that the world had ever seen was in the Bitcoin software released in 2009. Bitcoin the cryptocurrency then rose to prominence in 2013 when, driven in part by a flurry of media attention, its value rose past $1,000 for the first time. Following that, 2014 represented a long and painful year of price decline for Bitcoin as an asset, but it continued to garner a lot of attention, not always for good reasons. Then in 2015 the narrative began to change as people really started talking about the potential applications of blockchain technology distinct from any digital assets.
Explaining GTX's Bespoke TCA Tool In February, Profit & Loss reported that GTX had partnered with Ideal Prediction, an independent trading analytics and data science company, to offer its clients analytics aimed at optimising their FX trading. GTX first hired Ideal Prediction to optimise client liquidity pools and trade execution performance in March 2016 and the perceived success of this project, combined with the management teams’ strong working relationship with Ideal Prediction CEO, John Crouch, from his time working at Credit Suisse, prompted the two firms to look for more ways to utilise the data at GTX’s disposal to help its clients. The end product of this was the analytics tool that GTX began offering to firms in February.
A Lighter Footprint Increased attention on market impact has prompted non-bank market making firm XTX to release a new analysis tool, XTX-ray. Colin Lambert takes a look. Market impact has grown steadily as a topic of conversation in the FX industry, thanks in part to the events of October 7, 2016 in Cable, but also due to the increasing instances of “mini” flash moves in markets. As risk warehousing activities have been scaled back across the banking industry, a crucial buffer is being thinned out, meaning orders that previously had minimal or no impact on market levels, now do.
Will 2017 be the Year that Blockchain Becomes Real? After two years of endless hype, Galen Stops looks at whether 2017 will be the year that distributed ledger technology broadly starts getting put into production within mainstream financial services. Last year saw numerous firms producing proof-of-concepts (POC) regarding the potential application of distributed ledger technology (DLT), issuing whitepapers about the technology and hosting “hackathons” and other events to discuss and promote its use within financial services. Profit & Loss covered the major developments around DLT last year, but the editorial team started expressing frustration towards the end of the year regarding the disparity between the PR and subsequent press coverage surrounding DLT and the actual amount of tangible projects being put into production using this technology.
A New Age for FX Market Data As FX execution becomes increasingly fragmented with more and more trading taking place in dark environments, price discovery is rapidly becoming one of the industry’s key challenges. But can the recent proliferation of new market data offerings from the leading ECNs really help tackle this problem as claimed? Nicola Tavendale writes. The past year’s run of unprecedented market events has only served to highlight the growing demand for timely and reliable FX market data, yet innovation in this area has notably lagged behind the levels seen in other areas of the financial markets.